Blacklight Responsive Diamonds

Mark Bronner Diamonds Blacklight Responsive DiamondsCertain diamonds have the ability to fluoresce a bright blue color in response to ultra violet light, which is also known as “black light”. This is due to the fact that about thirty percent of these precious gems contain an appropriate amount of Boron that allows them to emit this luminous glow as soon as the compound gets excited by the ultra violet lighting. The exact concentration of Boron present in that specific diamond determines the strength of the fluorescence. The two factors are linearly related, which means that level of radiance expressed by the diamonds changes according to the individual stone. Experts have classified the resulting fluorescence into the following five categories: very strong, strong, medium, faint and none.

 

While some consumers find appeal in this intriguing glow, others are skeptical of the diamond’s quality and color due to the added presence of Boron. The latter belief, however, is a misconception about this naturally occurring reaction. This misconception stems from the historical use of ultra violet light to sort out fake diamonds from real ones. However, what most people don’t know is that most diamonds reflect at least some amount of blue light in response to black light exposure. In fact, the GIA led research on the quality of fluorescing diamonds in 1997. The results confirmed that, despite the glow emitted by these diamonds under black light, the precious gems themselves do not have any inherent color defects or opacities. In fact, those diamonds categorized with strong or very strong fluorescence exhibited higher quality color than diamonds ranked in lower categories of fluorescence while in the table up position. In the table down position, there was no remarkable difference between gems with higher fluorescence versus those with lower fluorescence.

 

Despite the results from the GIA study, diamond buyers still tend to shy away from investing in the stones that respond to ultraviolet light. As a result jewelry merchants have established a separate pricing system for the fluorescing diamonds, one that takes the usual color and clarity of the diamond into account while adding on the stone’s fluorescence valuation. On the other hand, certain consumers are intrigued by this extra quality in diamonds and appreciate the subtle blues hues present in the fluorescing diamonds. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference as long as the precious gems are coming from a trusted and GIA certified vendor.

Diamonds & Instagram

Mark Bronner Diamonds InstagramMillennials (and even me, for that matter) are tired of reading about the industries they’re destroying and bearing the onus of failing markets. From mediocre fast food chains like Arby’s to the severely hurting realm of print media, society has laid the corpse of these businesses at the feet of overeducated, underpaid, debt-ridden young professionals.

The diamond industry, too, has been tossed on the pyre, as young adults have chosen not to spend as much on the precious gems as generations before them have. From the inflated prices to the inherent uselessness to the job prospects, young adults have decided that their money would be better spent elsewhere, either towards paying down loans or investing in their futures.

Of all the figurative death millennials have left in their wake, young adults are well known to shell out more than expected for experiences and moments — much more so than they are for items and trinkets. Meal kits, AirBNB, and gourmet snacks all serve as a testament to this.

And what’s an experience if it’s not shareable? On top of young adults wanting to “do” something, they want to be able to talk about it and take breath-taking pictures of it to put on their social media platforms. A quick search of hashtags like #FoodPorn or #AboutLastNight will make it clear quickly that what young people crave is a good time and priceless memories.

So for diamond and jewelry sellers, the key to reviving the industry is to stop selling items and start selling an experience, a lifestyle, and a persona — and where better to do that than on Instagram.

The Diamond Producers Association wants diamonds to feel more “approachable” and doff the old-timey concepts of marriage in favor of a modern, pop-culture friendly appearance. From their five-year campaign entitled “real is rare” to its warm embrace of such iconic images as Taylor Swift bathing in a tub brimming with diamond jewelry, the DPA understands that the name of the game at this point is relatability and experience.

Of course, that means rethinking the purpose of social media. In the early goings, corporations and sellers believed that they could just push ad after ad onto the platforms and draw attention that way, but as one could imagine, a company following that strategy would lose not only business but followers left and right. The DPA had outlined in its new plan that it intends to remain relevant and post images and graphics not always related to the sale of diamonds, but also to the cultural relevance of diamonds.

From Game of Thrones appearances to young love birds on exotic vacations, the Instagram page peddles an aesthetic and a look rather than an item anymore. As they moderators execute their five-year social media plan, we’ll see whether diamonds are able to find a second wind with young adults and make a second debut as a cornerstone of our culture.

Tiffany vs Costco

mark bronner diamonds tiffany vs costcoOn August 15, 2017, Tiffany Diamonds won a huge case against the bulk food distributor Costo. A US District court ruled in favor of Tiffany, who alleged that Costco had blatantly manufactured counterfeit rings and marketed them under the Tiffany name.

The luxury jewelry company filed their first suit in February 2013 shortly after Valentine’s Day, alleging that Costco had sold upwards of two thousand rings using Tiffany’s copyrighted name and logo as well as the company’s reputation as one of the finest jewelry designers and distributors in the world. Tiffany’s legal team alleged that Costco had used displays with the word “Tiffany” in print and that the sales associates called on the pathos of the Tiffany name as a part of their sales pitch of the diamond-laden jewelry to customers.

Costco, ever cavalier about the whole issue, argued in its defense that the word “Tiffany” was a generic enough word to describe jewelry that the company could claim no such copyright over the name. They drew a parallel between their own marketing and the use of words like Kleenex, Band Aid, and Xerox with a product, not a brand.

Presiding Judge Swain ruled against Costo in 2016.

In total, Tiffany has been awarded a grand total just shy of twenty million dollars in damages from Costco. Initially, the jury decided that five and a half million dollars would cover the damages that Costo inflicted on Tiffany. Subsequently, the judge chose to load on an additional eight and a quarter million dollars to the penalty Costo had to pay as punitive damages. Calling Costco’s defense ridiculous on its face, the judge added the punitive damages because the actions were intentional and harmful.

In a final blow, Judge Swain imposed triple damages totaling 11.1 million dollars plus interest, on top of the 8.25 million that the jury had settled on.

Costo will likely continue to market the same diamond rings in the future, but they have been thoroughly admonished to use clearer language, including clarifications like “Tiffany Style” rather than “Tiffany” as a stand alone adjective.

Copyrights have been a central focus of the US Supreme Court as of late, and Costco said it intends to appeal this particular case as high as it feasibly can. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled on two cases related to what can and cannot be copyrighted. In one case revolving around cheerleader’s uniforms, the court decided that stylistic features like chevrons can, in fact, be copyrighted, which was a huge blow to the knockoff industry and the leeway the Court has generally granted it. The other notably-controversial case dealt with whether racial epithets qualify as grounds for the US choosing to reject a copyright application. In a sweeping victory for the ACLU, the courts ruled that the US government was in no place to decide which words were “too inflammatory” to deny copyrights.

If this Tiffany v Costco case makes it way up the courts, we can expect to see the justices deliberate in a few years down the road.

Millennials Didn’t Ruin Diamonds

Mark Bronner diamonds millennials didn't ruin diamondsBaby boomers love complaining about all the stuff millennials have ruined. From chain restaurants to marriage, countless think pieces detail with great ire how this generation of young adults is destroying all the businesses and traditions the baby boomers have grown to know and love. Diamonds aren’t immune from this: many blame young people’s delayed marriage, moral fiber, and economic woes for the slowed rate of diamond sales.

As it turns out, though, millennials are more respectful of tradition than the generation before them. Forbes reporter Rachelle Bergstein writes, “only 11% of 25- to 34-year-olds saying that they ‘did not have an engagement ring.’ In comparison, a whopping 39% of the 55 and over group revealed that they did not seal the deal with a diamond.”

Moreover, a few different indicators are showing that sales had actually improved over the past year. Demand in the US has risen in the past year, even as demand in India and China have shrunken. As I’ve written, more of that is coming as a result of shoppers buying for themselves, not necessarily for a loved one. 

While the diamond market certainly looks different, it’s still alive and well. Delayed engagements are still engagements, and diamonds bought for oneself are still diamond sales.

Diamonds Aren’t Forever

mark bronner diamonds diamonds aren't foreverAs we all know, a huge selling point of diamonds has been the old refrain, “Diamonds are forever.” Countless songs and ad campaigns have heralded sentiments along these lines for decades. Fiscally, this proves untrue, as the price of diamonds is artificially inflated. But what about chemically and physically? Do diamonds really last forever?

Diamonds are made from compressed carbon molecules that have been pressurized by the weight of the earth for hundreds of years. According to gem curator Dr. George E. Harlow at the American Museum of Natural History, ancient diamonds form eight-sided crystals during their billion-year creation process. Since the earth is constantly shifting and changing, the crystals may incorporate other other minerals or get a little squished as they make their way towards the surface of the planet. As such, the bonds in the gems dissolve and reform many times throughout the process, and tiny cavities can form, causing the diamonds to take on blue or pink hues.

Once the diamonds reach the surface of the Earth, they’ll remain exactly as they are. Diamonds are incredibly stable at low temperatures. So, yes, diamonds are forever, but only after the Earth is done making them.

Falling Marriage Rates Hurt Diamond Sales

mark_bronnder_diamonds_marriage_and_diamond_salesIt seems like we’re blaming millennials for everything these days, and the latest one is the dip in jewelry sales, particularly precious gems like diamonds. I’ve already discussed in-depth that a part of the problem is an economic one — young people today have more debt and fewer good jobs than those from 20 years ago and simply can’t afford to pay the exorbitant prices that De Beers is charging.

Another part of the problem I’ve already discussed is the moral one. Study after study has demonstrated that young people are willing to spend more money on products that align with their moral leanings and abstain from spending where the establishment’s morals conflict with their own. From ethically produced clothing to clean foods, the young workforce talks with its wallet and makes its opinions on labor practices and clean food clear as a bell. As such, many young adults take great issue with the culture of forced labor, child labor, colonialism, and monopoly that fuels the diamond industry.

However, diamond executives are blaming another habit of young people for their hemorrhaging businesses: delaying marriage. A combination of sexual liberation, economic troubles, and uncertain future prospects has now pushed the average age of marriage up from the 20s to the 30s for many of today’s young adults.

As of April 2017, loosely one third of the millennial generation still lives with their parents. This is a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum — some say that young people move in with their parents because their marriage and cohabitation prospects are limited, while others posit that the act of living with one’s parents limits one’s dating pool, as many prospective mates associate that living situation with poverty and loser-dom.

Not only do these changing norms hurt the engagement ring and wedding ring market, but also the jewelry industry as a whole. From anniversary gifts to Valentine’s day presents to mother’s day, the vast majority of diamond-buying occasions have to do with marriage and a family, both of which are being delayed in the lives of today’s young adults. Even among those who do choose to marry, many are eschewing the grandiose marriage proposal in favor of a more frugal and/or unique option.

Perhaps this delay in marriage and childbearing age will result in a boom in the diamond industry 10 years down the road, but some other significant changes in the economy, purchasing preferences, and the social climate may continue to impede the growth of the diamond markets for young adults.

The newest demographic of diamond buyers? Women

mark bronner diamonds womenHistorically, diamonds have been marketed as a gift that men buy and give to women. De Beers revived their dying business in the 1930s by marketing diamonds as the perfect engagement gift, and even today, most diamond ads from Tiffany to Kay Jewelers to Jared feature heterosexual couples kissing in the rain after the man has given the woman diamond jewelry. The vast majority of the diamond industry has counted on men being the main buyers of the precious gems.

A new company based in Canada is switching up the game, though. Mejuri markets their fine jewelry to women who want to shop for themselves. Step one was to eliminate the middleman to bring down the prices of the already artificially inflated cost of diamonds. Secondly, they made the buying process enticing to women. Their ads feature only women and aim to make the shopping process more appealing to women who are shopping for themselves. Many of the pieces include positive affirmations, too.
Between the prices and the marketing, Mejuri could disrupt the diamond market as we know it.

The Cubs’ New Rings

mark bronner diamonds the cubs new ringsThe Chicago Cubs have a fancy new ring to display. Having recently won the World Series, the Cubs have earned themselves custom rings — and the designers pulled no punches after the team finally broke a 108 World Series drought.

The rings boast 214 diamonds each and three carats of rubies for the classic red in their logo. Jostens, the design agency in charge of the rings, confirmed in a press release the exact specs of the prizes. The rings are made of 14 carat white gold and designed to commemorate the players, Wrigley field, and the legend that sent the Cubs on their drought in the first place. The press release states, “Overall, the ring contains 214 diamonds at 5.5 karats, 3 karats of genuine red rubies and 2.5 karats of genuine sapphires.”
In all, the team will hand out 1,908 rings to its players, administrators, investors, and board members. Players have already commented that they love the ring and all its bling and sentimentality, although it is awkward to wear. As fun as all the celebrating has been, the Cubs say they’re ready to get to work on earning another one.

7 Surprising Facts About Diamonds

5 surprisng facts about diamonds

The Anatomy Of A Diamond

Mark Bronner Diamonds shares an infographic that explains the anatomy of a diamond:

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